Mario Party DS Preview

Four-player board game action is on the way to your handheld courtesy of Nintendo and Hudson.


Nintendo gave us a few minutes with Mario Party DS at its press event a few weeks ago, and now we've gotten our hands on a prerelease version of the game to subject it to further scrutiny. Not that too much scrutiny was really necessary--this is 100 percent, grade-A Mario Party. Anyone who has played the recent console versions should know exactly the sort of minigame/board game action they'll find in the DS game. But that's probably the most impressive thing about this package, from what we've seen so far: Hudson seems to have crammed the full Mario Party experience into the handheld, even if you have only one copy of the game.

Like its console predecessors, Mario Party DS is for four players, though you can play against up to three computer-controlled opponents if you don't have any friends. You roll the dice and then move that many spaces on the board, and the type of space you land on determines what happens to you. You might get some coins or lose some coins, face Bowser's wrath, take a shortcut to another spot on the board, or visit an item store to purchase a power-up that will help you out. The ultimate goal of any Mario Party is to have the most stars at the end of the game, and you pick those up as you make your way around the board. Again, this should all be old hat for veterans of the series.

It wouldn't be a Mario game without Bowser and his cronies causing trouble.
It wouldn't be a Mario game without Bowser and his cronies causing trouble.

At the end of every round, you'll jump into a four-player minigame. This is where Hudson seems to have provided the most meaningful new content in the game, since a lot of the minigames take advantage of the DS's touch screen or microphone. One game we tried had us racing against our foes to hop across a series of candles--but we had to use the microphone to blow out each candle before we could jump onto it. Another game had all four players using a bow and arrow on the touch screen--by pulling back the bowstring and aiming with the stylus--to hit targets on the top screen. Some of the games are three-against-one, such as one where three players run around on a disc with jets of water shooting across it, and the other player rotates the disc with the stylus to make those players get knocked off by the water. The computer-controlled players in the games we played were laughably easy to beat, but the minigames were quite a bit more fun against three other real people.

Surprisingly, it looks as though you'll get the full Mario Party experience with only one copy of the game via the DS's download play. We were able to have those three friends join in with the standard download play option, and it only took a minute or so to get into the game and choose one of the same five game boards you'll find in the single-player game. It seems like all the minigames will be available during a download-play session as well, since the game would transmit data for a few seconds each time we started a new minigame. We can't say what kind of multiplayer options you'll get with multiple cartridges, since we have only one copy of the game in-house, but we'll tip our hat to Nintendo's generosity for giving you such a robust multiplayer option when only one cartridge is present.

This is classic board game Mario Party, through and through.
This is classic board game Mario Party, through and through.

As we mentioned in our last look at Mario Party DS, the game offers some other gameplay options outside of the main board game, such as the ability to play all of the minigames you've unlocked at will. There's also a puzzle mode where you can sample a number of puzzle games from previous Mario Party games, such as Bob-omb Breakers, Stick & Spin, and Piece Out. These seem like moderately entertaining time wasters that follow established puzzle conventions, drawing from games like Tetris Attack.

Mario Party DS isn't reinventing the franchise's wheel, but if you're into this series, now you'll have a DS version you can take with you anywhere. The game has a nice art style, with full-resolution 2D cutscenes featuring some attractively rendered artwork. The game is out in the latter half of November, so look for a full review soon.

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Avatar image for golazo3

this game is cool but would have been better with jeff go to << LINK REMOVED >> and post on jeff

Avatar image for DaniellaNYC


Avatar image for DarkProwl

Just got the game, and I gotta say, it is GREAT!!

Avatar image for madmike1515

Dude! I am STOKED for this game. This really could be an example of what the DS was made for.

Avatar image for bernieberry

Can't wait to get it.

Avatar image for Tbro13

Looks cool and may get today or sometime this week.

Avatar image for GreenBerserker

if its not wi-fi it wouldnt be as fun as i thought it would be

Avatar image for mushroomer

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Avatar image for mushroomer

i dont see the wifi logo.. it would be a shame if they didnt have wifi.. and i dont think they do...

Avatar image for T070Y

They must make a good M P game, since the newer ones kinda lost stile.

Avatar image for GreenBerserker

is it wi-fi?

Avatar image for bionic4723985

This sounds far more promising than the GBA version was.

Avatar image for MythDarK

This will be a great game. Touchscreen, mic and old school mini games.

Avatar image for Sireph

Oooh.... this better not suck...

Avatar image for njfire

I might just have to buy this game.Heard nuthin but good bout it so far.Besides #8 and #2 all you here are negative things about MP.Ya feel me

Avatar image for s3lFc0nTr0l

my god i loved mario party, key word 'loved'. not so much anymore, after the first 3 theyve all been kinda crappy, espeically after 5 although iwish it had online play, ive been waiting for a DS mario party for quite some time and this may be the game that makes me play my DS again

Avatar image for squirtle4

Look's awesome.

Avatar image for DeliriumGlo

That is true. However we know without a shadow of a doubt that the DS is built perfectly for mini-games. The question is whether or not they are just going to churn out fodder like they have since Mario Party 3 (IMO).

Avatar image for WyldeLink

sounds kinda cool but im not sure cuz the other hand held ones werent that good.

Avatar image for XxmonkeygamerxX

looks kinda fun hope its better then the latest 2

Avatar image for perfect_chao

WIFI = no buy.. anyone remember the first game where u had to wind up the shyguy and see how far he could go.. man the palm of my hand was red sore after that but all in good fun. 1-2 were the best imo.. they should release a sequel with online play.

Avatar image for spider-manfan45

mario party games started goin crap after 2, but 8 went better so colud this be thing that makes the series rise?

Avatar image for Junior_AIN

After several dispensable games, they actually went handheld with mario party, hope it gets better because since the second MP I'm hoping for something good....

Avatar image for grant4500neo

remember the first one. it was horrible (in my opinion). now we have this. i'll consider getting it.

Avatar image for Distinctive_Fin

big whoop, maybe this is one step closer to making a Mario Party game we can all be proud of.

Avatar image for MechaGoomba

THis looks like the best mario party yet cant wait.

Avatar image for juztenrox

this looks great, i own the wii version, and that's a lot of fun at a party, so this might be worth getting.

Avatar image for cimbomboy2

if its anything like mario party 1 and 2 im in!

Avatar image for vatterott

SSB!!! Donde estas tu!?

Avatar image for DynamoFan

sounds like the first good mario party in a looong time. i still like mp4.

Avatar image for flip13lolb

I don't think ssb on the ds will be good because a lack of control compared to the N64 version because it will probably be a port on the N64 version w/ online play

Avatar image for chrissie666

I'm playing the japanese version right now and it's fun as expected!

Avatar image for blazethe1

wheres ssb DS?

Avatar image for Breakfast_Clubber

ONE Mario Party game that's ANYTHING like Mario Party 2, and I'm sold. Innovation gets in the way of progress all the freakin time!

Avatar image for Patorishia

Oh Great, now I'm excited!

Avatar image for Sireph

God, I hope this'll be as good as the original mario party...

Avatar image for DrummerDude1010

This one is now on my christmas list.

Avatar image for blitzkrieg13

Hmm... that video isn't really selling me. The DS has too many minigame collections as it is, this one is just mario-themed. probably not buying it.

Avatar image for -supercharged-

Finally a Mario Party game for the DS, I havent played a Mario Party since 6 so this is sweet. Plus most of the game will be available during DS download play which I use alot with my gf with all my DS games that have it. Too bad it doesn't have WIFI though, I think every DS game should have online multiplayer. Either way I am still most likely going to pick up this game.

Avatar image for lapyx

I'll admit, Mario Party games are still addicting to some, but I've lost my interest. Some of the Mario Party games made recently were a little more sloppy than the N64 ones. I don't think i'm going to buy this, not saying it's bad or anything, I just finally broke free from the addiction :P

Avatar image for magicaltrevor11

nice that u can use 1 cartrige to play with friends

Avatar image for Sr_Mateus

this one looks promising. I'm probably getting my copy someday.

Avatar image for Simpsonsfan2

Mario Party DS looks like so much fun. I hope it has orbs instead of candy like in Mario Party 8.

Avatar image for Eponique

Online, innovation in the Mario Party series or bust.

Avatar image for Skater710

Wow LloydJelly! Your initiative is amazing!!! No wait...I lied. Anyways, I think this looks great! I loved playing Mario Party on my N64 so I'll definitely check this one out!

Avatar image for Thomahawk505

looks good! ^_^ i'd probably get it if i hav the cash

Avatar image for cris707

i love mario party!

Avatar image for ZOnikJJ

I stopped playing Mario Party after the second game. I was already surprised there was a Mario Party 4. Now there's this...

Avatar image for m1k3m

It looks like fun. I don't know if I wanna get this, Call of Duty DS, or Dragon Quest Monsters Joker.

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